The baffling murder of Robert Aynes

This story was written after the victim’s brother, Steve Aynes, reached out to Killer Tales.

Indianapolis saw 150 homicides in 2017, which was the third consecutive year of record highs. The media is full of crime statistics like that. Numbers that go up or down, telling stories about communities, about crime, about the realities of life and death in the modern world.

Although offering some insight, the numbers essentially ignore the individuals behind the statistics. The real flesh and blood that once existed. Those 150 lives that were lost in Indy three years ago, how many left behind a family? How many suffered? How many cases remain unsolved?

One such open case is the heartless murder of 55-year old Robert Aynes in Indianapolis on 2 November, 2017. He was shot once in the head some time between 8 pm and 10 pm in the parking lot of his apartment building. His body was discovered underneath the vehicle by his wife, who was on her way to work at 10:30 pm. Police have no motive, no suspects and few witnesses. No arrests have yet been made.

Police block the crime scene. Robert’s van can be seen in the back.

Reports from the victim’s brother, Steve Aynes, as well as other news reports on the case, indicate that Robert was presumed to have been working on his van, because the hood was up and the side door was open. This is presumed because his wife was asleep when he left the house, and he often enjoyed working on his car, according to his brother Steve, who we spoke to for this article.

The scene of the crime was the 5900 block of Devington Road, a quiet residential area, the type of neighborhood that a gunshot would be heard for miles all around, prompting witnesses, especially from the nearby apartment building. Only one person the police spoke to said they heard a gunshot at 8:30 pm, but they didn’t investigate. Other than that, no one saw or heard anything, or at least, no one who saw anything has come forward. Police mentioned to the victim’s family that there was little physical evidence, and “nothing to go on”.

5900 block of Devington Road

The brutality and decisiveness of a single bullet to the head is also telling. It lacks any indications of confusion, anger or desire of any kind. It’s cold, calculated and fatally efficient. Although hardly an undisputed conclusion, the method of murder does seem to rule out any personal or passionate motive. This was not a murder by some secret lover or scorned business partner. Speaking to Killer Tales, his brother Steve said that Robert had no enemies, that he was well-liked by all who knew him, that he was kind, and generous. That he would give you the shirt right off his back.

Robbery was ruled out as a possible motive because his wallet and cellphone were left untouched. So if this was a dispassionate crime, not motivated by greed, then who killed him and why? Clearly there are massive pieces of the puzzle that we are missing, and almost two and a half years later there remains only more questions, with no answers or closures in sight.

From what we do know about Robert’s murder, and based on statistics regarding murder victims and their killers, it is fairly safe to deduce that Robert likely knew the person who killed him. This is not some random killing, it seems targeted, cold, almost professional, uninterested in robbery. It seems a safe assumption to make that his killer knew Robert, and had a very specific reason to take his life. Either that, or this was a rare, truly random murder.

Either scenario leaves Robert’s family, including his brother Steve and Robert’s wife, daughter and step-son, with no closure, and with the dreaded feeling that the murderer is still out there, free to take the lives of others as easily as he took Robert’s.

Sadly, this case is in no way unique. According to the Washington Post, out of 54,868 homicides in 55 cities over the past decade, 50% of the cases saw no arrests.

Robert Aynes

If you have any information about this case please call IMPD Homicide Detectives at (317)327-3749 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at http://www.crimetips.org.

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